Collection Online
cotton, metal, paint
(a) 42.5 cm (centre back) 38.0 cm (width) (bodice)
(b) 106.0 cm (centre back) 26.0 cm (waist, flat) (skirt)
(c) 25.5 × 176.8 × 1.0 cm (sash)
(d) 13.0 cm (height) 49.0 cm (circumference) (headpiece)
(e) 24.0 × 48.0 cm (fan)
Accession Number
International Fashion and Textiles
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of David Syme & Co. Limited, Fellow, 1977
Gallery location
Not on display
Sheet Music fancy dress costume comprised of five parts, bodice, skirt, sash, headdress, and fan. The costume is made of both cotton muslin and voile decorated with hand painted reproductions of sheet music covers - some have been highlighted with metallic borders. Lace and bias cut cotton ruffle attached at hem. Skirt is gored to a fitted waist with placket fastened by press studs and metal hook and eye. Cotton sash has a music sheet image at each end, and is gathered at mid-point with a single stay on the reverse. A second shorter section of fabric is attached at the mid point.

This charming fancy-dress costume was purchased from a private collector in 1974 as part of a larger group of nineteenth-century garments and accessories. At the time of acquisition, this information was recorded:

This dress was worn to a fancy dress ball at Mena House, Cairo, in 1907 by a Miss Geddes. The dress is accompanied by three photographs of the owner wearing it and a cutting from the Egyptian Gazette of February 20th 1907 describing the ball.

Today the newspaper clipping is lost and this photograph bears the handwritten annotation: ‘1907, under the orange blossom, Bloemfontein (South Africa)’.

—text from Fashion Detective (May 2014)